What happens when Dwight H. Little tries to make “Phantom of the Opera” into a horror movie? Freddy Krueger is turning in his grave right now.
The Phantom (Robert Englund) haunts the London opera in search for – no, not music – no, not love – for fresh skin! You see, Freddy, I mean Erik Destler (of all names!) made a pact with the devil (not Freddy) and the devil granted Erik immortality through music and at the same time turned his face into goo, which is where the skin hunt comes in handy.
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Erik, now aptly called “The Phantom”, can’t go about without proper skin on his face, hence logically he needs fresh skin to sew onto his cheeks and make them all rosy with pounds of makeup, and hence I dub him “Stitches”.
Poor special effects, mediocre soundtrack (of all things!), average costumes and cheap sets make this horror version of “The Phantom” a horrific watch. The writers kept enough of the original story and at the same time tried to make it into a horror flick for teenagers with slicing and cutting and blood splattering. Trouble is, there’s hardly any slicing, some cutting and the fake blood is dripping.
The movie starts out in New York, present day (i.e. 1980s) and a young girl Christine (Jill Schoelen) is searching for something special to sing at the audition. Fate has it she finds Destler’s work and the next day at the audition there’s an accident during her audition and we get transported back into the past where Christine performs the very same part. The killings begin and before long the skin hunt is on and people start dying.
Once all are dead, including the Phantom (or so we think) we get transported back to New York to Christine regaining consciousness and a modern version of Destler kneeling next to her.
Christine has 5 minutes before it’s all over and she pulls it off like a regular on Buffy, not that this makes it any better, the movie ends on a beggar in the streets playing Destler’s piece and you can almost see the words “The Phantom returns with a Vengeance” come out of his mouth.